BREXIT uncertainty has led to an increase in demand for storage units, placing additional pressure on rural commercial space in Hampshire.

Charlotte Mount, of BCM Rural Property Specialists, in Sutton Scotney, said that demand for offices had been driving enquiries until the final months of 2018, when the requirement switched as businesses sought to find storage, possibly with a no-deal Brexit in mind.

With Hampshire possessing two busy ports in Southampton and Portsmouth, importers and exporters want storage away from expensive dock sides but still conveniently close, accessible and secure, which many rural sites can easily become.

“The fact that the M3 between Basingstoke and Winchester was being considered for temporary lorry storage between ferry crossings shows how limited space has become in the county,” explains Charlotte Mount.

“Human nature is to leave matters to the last minute but those with spare space would do well to bring it to market now.

“Farmers looking to diversify who still have large and under-utilised barn space may find they can quickly let to a new and well-established tenant at least in the short term until the Brexit riddle is solved and everyone knows the direction they will be heading in from the end of 2020.

“These are not start-up businesses, start-ups would typically be seeking office or work space on flexible terms that then allows them to quit at short notice if they need to expand or vacate because their idea has become non-viable. Our enquiries are from companies with a track record who need somewhere secure to store their products that will provide a buffer for their proven businesses as they learn to cope with life outside the EU and adjust to possible Customs bottlenecks.

“A good example is a unit at Ranscombe Farm, at Bighton, near Alresford.

“It offers more than 3,000sqft close to the A31 and a short drive of the M3 at Winchester for access to the M3 and Southampton or via the nearby A32 to Portsmouth. With three phase electricity, concrete floor, a newly insulated roof and a high roller shutter door it offers a convenient and secure facility. We are now seeking similar properties to suit clients.”